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Lamanite

Priesthood Ban And Revelation

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In order for this to happen, the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve would have to be on board. You may remember the story Henry Eyring told at the press conference when he was called as an apostle of being in a meeting where the FP and Q12 discussed an issue and it appeared to be settled and he expected the President to announce that it would go forward, only to hear the President say that he thought that it wasn't completely settled in someone's mind so the issue would be put on hold. Leaders and members had been defending it for a long time: maybe some leaders were not yet on board with the idea that their previous defenses were wrong.

I just recently also learned about another story that might have influenced things. There was a man in winter quarter around the time Brigham Young's presidency was established, who was African American. William McCary who was ordained to the priesthood and decided to have his own church in which he did sealings to white women who were required to be intimate with him during daylight hours to effect it (at least according to the historical documents). He was excommunicated, of course, but the ease in which he persuaded members to follow him may have contributed to the policy change.

When I watch the blacks in the scriptures video recently that reviews all the scriptural references to skin color and cursing, I realized what I guess I knew but don't recall ever being formally announced that in the 1981 version of the scriptures, there were explanatory footnotes included with scriptures that had been used to defend the earlier position that make it clear that they should NOT be interpreted that way.

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It may well be that the ban was a trial to the NON-BLACK members of the Church. :P

Like when a parent says to a child before giving a spanking, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you."

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...perhaps it might have impeded the work of the Church.

What do you mean by work?

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I recall that Pres. McKay prayed over the issue several times and never was able to receive the answer that it was time to extend the blessings of the Priesthood to all men.

It wasn't that President McKay was unable to receive a revelation on this matter; it's that the answer he did receive was to let it alone until the due time of the Lord. We don't know the story behind the priesthood ban at all. I do find it interesting that it was the 12th president of the church that reversed the policy, and that it was done though revelation. Twelve is a number signifying priesthood.

Now the revelation to reverse the policy could have come directly through President Kimball and it would have been sustained by the rest of the brethren with ease; however, the Lord saw fit to reveal it to the entire Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency. This is significant when it comes to our critics, or skeptics who think it was a revelation for convenience. They always put the word revelation in quotes to reflect their belief that, like the "revelation" on plural marriage, it was one we had to have. (And of course we partially agree with it. Reading Jacob 2 in the Book of Mormon, we see that the practice of plural wives is the default system. Only in situations where the Lord has to "raise up" seed does he command it; otherwise, we're to have but one husband to one wife. This is something the apostate groups fail to grasp, one of many).

But again there were witnesses. Instead of just the president of the church receiving it and seeking the sustaining vote of the other general authorities, the Lord gave the revelation to the assembled leaders so that all received it and all experienced it. To those who push me into a corner about it, my response is what it's been from the beginning. That is, if we do have the keys of the priesthood of God on the Earth, it's best to rejoice and thank God for opening it up all the children of men. And if we don't have those keys, then, really, no one's received the priesthood, red, yellow, black or white.

The Lord has made it clear that He does things for His own purpose, and that his thoughts and ways are not the same as ours. Dispensationism implies that different people receive different things at different times. Thus, saying "I don't know...." is the best response. Indeed, it's the only one at the moment.

elijah.jpg

When it comes to priesthood and authority, there must always

be witnesses. There were witnessesto the Book of Mormon, the

reception of the priesthood, the "Vision" as it relates to the state

of spirits after death and in the resurrection. Thus, in the mouths

of two or three witnesses shall all things be established.

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Cinepro:

Does your idea of an omnipotent God FORCE people to believe certain things?

Only when He wants to.

In case it wasn't clear, my belief that God wasn't behind the Priesthood/Temple ban isn't based on ideas of justice or perceived racism.

While I believe there are strong arguments against the ban based on those principles, the thing that just seals it for me is a practical and not a moral concern: the ban just wouldn't work.

The ban was obviously based on 19th and 20th century concepts of "race". Specifically, the idea that there are isolated races in the world, with specific physical markers that designate lineage. Thus, it was assumed that someone who looked "black" was indeed black, with African ancestry, and someone who looked "white" didn't have African ancestry. This just isn't the case.

Take, for example, the case of missionaries in Brazil:

The official policy which branch, ward, and stake leaders were instructed to follow was simple. Descendants of Cain, usually those who traced their lineage to Africa, were not allowed to hold the priesthood.17 The Church did not, however, explain how to determine African heritage. Brazilians were genuinely puzzled when they needed to make a decision about (1) a man with some African features who did not have genealogical proof of either pure-European or partial-African lineage or (2) a man with ambiguous or no negroid physical features whose genealogy included African ancestry.

Questions on how to deal with the first group were eliminated in 1967 when the burden of proof shifted from the individual to the Church. Even though the previous "clean genealogy" policy had not been strictly adhered to, it was sometimes used to justify withholding the priesthood in questionable cases. After 1967, leaders were instructed that if potential priesthood holders did not have "obvious evidence of lineage in themselves or their families and do not know whether or not it is present, they are not required to prove it before being taught or receiving the priesthood." The question of race was thus eliminated from most priesthood ordination decisions.18

The second group, those with genealogical links to Africa, posed a significant dilemma for the leadership. The Mormon Church in Brazil has always struggled to find enough active male priesthood holders to staff local and regional organizations. It was frustrating to have an active member who was considered white by Brazilian racial perceptions but ineligible by Church standards. Two strategies emerged to overcome this problem and to allow ordination.

The first was for someone in priesthood authority to. declare racial purity. This generally occurred at the bishop or stake-president level, but at times went all the way to the First Presidency. The most widely known case was that of the president of the Ipiranga, S

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I'm sorry, but I give more credit to the early saints. To say that they crossed an entire nation, buried hundreds, if not thousands of loved ones, had homes burned, whipped, beaten....but that negro getting the priesthood...they just wouldn't stand for that???

Not buying it.

Heh, good point. It was so uncomfortable for so long there would have been almost as much relief had it come earlier. The problem with dividing people up into skin color presents the same problems with whites as blacks. What is so special about white people that an entire population would be thrown under the bus to protect their delicate constitutions? One of the peculiar practices of the church..which I think is actually what makes it so successful...is that nothing seems to be done without concensus. So if there was anything going on to prevent an earlier revelation, I suspect it was in the top floors of the church offices and key people had to be rallied or dead.

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The idea of there being any cursed lineage at all doesn't make sense to me.

...

DH

Does the curse on Jeconiah and his descendants make sense to you?

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cinepro:

I believe that God allows us to believe any fool thing we want, and even act on those fool beliefs. There is no claim inerrancy in either our Scriptures or of our people as individuals. Whatever Brigham Young's understand of the issue, down to David O. McKay's day, it makes no difference in the Truth of the Restored Gospel. They acted on the best information they had available.

As God never has seen fit to justify any exclusion from the Priesthood, from Adam on down. There is no sin in saying "We do not know".

On a very personal note. I personally struggled long and hard over the ban issue. I came to the realization that if this Gods Church, and the ban was His responsibility. Me not joining would only be hurting myself and no one else.

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cinepro:

I believe that God allows us to believe any fool thing we want, and even act on those fool beliefs. There is no claim inerrancy in either our Scriptures or of our people as individuals. Whatever Brigham Young's understand of the issue, down to David O. McKay's day, it makes no difference in the Truth of the Restored Gospel. They acted on the best information they had available.

As God never has seen fit to justify any exclusion from the Priesthood, from Adam on down. There is no sin in saying "We do not know".

On a very personal note. I personally struggled long and hard over the ban issue. I came to the realization that if this Gods Church, and the ban was His responsibility. Me not joining would only be hurting myself and no one else.

Well, my take on this is that there are mistakes....like having Primary on Tuesday instead of a 3 hour block on Sunday...and then there are gross errors in judgement.

I can't see how God would allow a mistake of this magnitude to go on for as long as it did.

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Scottie:

Why? Assuming(You know what "Assuming" does) the Priesthood ban was a mistake. He seems to have allowed for every other type/manner of mistake to be perpetuated for far longer.

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Those of you who keep talking about the curses need to really read those scriptures again. The "curse" is being apart from God, not having a pigment change.

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Scottie:

Why? Assuming(You know what "Assuming" does) the Priesthood ban was a mistake. He seems to have allowed for every other type/manner of mistake to be perpetuated for far longer.

The simple answer to this is that

A- This is NOT the One True Church and God has no interest in correcting the false doctrines of a false church

or

B- There is no God.

The complex answer (or question) is why does God allow His prophets, in His name, to perform acts of gross unrighteousness??

God was having almost daily communication with JS. Then, suddenly when JS dies, God just shuts right up? He couldn't tell BY that a racial ban is wrong??

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Scottie:

There is another possibility you are leaving out. That God leaves with us our Agency. IOW. For God to force us to believe/act in any way would make God no longer God. :P

God did not make JS, or any other prophet, perfect. He still allowed him/them to sin, to have erroneous thoughts. To not be a Prophet when not acting as such.

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Scottie:

There is another possibility you are leaving out. That God leaves with us our Agency. IOW. For God to force us to believe/act in any way would make God no longer God. :P

God did not make JS, or any other prophet, perfect. He still allowed him/them to sin, to have erroneous thoughts. To not be a Prophet when not acting as such.

Are we talking about the same God who told President Hinckley that women shouldn't have more than one set of ear piercings?

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Scottie:

There is another possibility you are leaving out. That God leaves with us our Agency. IOW. For God to force us to believe/act in any way would make God no longer God. :P

God did not make JS, or any other prophet, perfect. He still allowed him/them to sin, to have erroneous thoughts. To not be a Prophet when not acting as such.

Sinning? Yes. Creating offensive, misguided, abhorrent policies? No.

Lets take this back a couple of thousand years...

Christ's original church is instituted just the way it is supposed to be. Imperfect men come in and start implementing policies and doctrines which are not what God wants, however, God remains silent and lets them make their mistakes. Not long afterwards, the church is in apostacy.

Why should we not believe that the current LDS church isn't in apostasy the same way the early church went into apostasy? Obviously God is allowing the thoughts of men to run His church and He has no interest in correcting it.

So much for God will never allow the prophet to lead the church astray, huh?

Again, all of this hinges on the assumption that it was a mistake. And if you make any other assumption than that, well, you're a horrible person.

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...

God was having almost daily communication with JS. Then, suddenly when JS dies, God just shuts right up? He couldn't tell BY that a racial ban is wrong??

A number of revelations continued to be received by Brigham Young and others. Not all have been published. Several Presidents of the Church discussed this policy during their administrations. Each time prayer was turned to on the matter, the ban continued--until June 1978. In addition, there were others who were ordained anyway in spite of the ban. This can be seen by looking at some Church records. But, we see the selfsame thing in even the Bible. There were lineage curses in even the Bible. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I have no problem with God doing that from time to time for his own reasons--even in modern times.

In any case, it is a dead issue these days as there is no longer any priesthood restriction based on lineage.

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A number of revelations continued to be received by Brigham Young and others. Not all have been published. Several Presidents of the Church discussed this policy during their administrations. Each time prayer was turned to on the matter, the ban continued--until June 1978. In addition, there were others who were ordained anyway in spite of the ban. This can be seen by looking at some Church records. But, we see the selfsame thing in even the Bible. There were lineage curses in even the Bible.

So you are in the camp that believe the ban was of God?

If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I have no problem with God doing that from time to time for his own reasons--even in modern times.

This is dangerous thinking. Whatever God commands, I will follow, no matter how horrific.

However, no need to derail to this. We've been over this countless times.

In any case, it is a dead issue these days as there is no longer any priesthood restriction based on lineage.

It's quite obviously not dead. I think to many investigators, it is a key factor to deciding that this is a man made church. Many just can't see a loving God doing something like this.

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So you are in the camp that believe the ban was of God?

Yes. I do not believe the mythology that grew up around it but I believe that God was responsible for the ban itself.

This is dangerous thinking. Whatever God commands, I will follow, no matter how horrific. ...

If priesthood and gospel restriction were horrific acts, I might agree with you. However, they were not horrific acts. God has a timetable and we have the disadvantage of not always knowing the mind of God and the reasons for his decisions. I believe it has something to do with our having a veil over our minds and God not.

It's quite obviously not dead. I think to many investigators, it is a key factor to deciding that this is a man made church. Many just can't see a loving God doing something like this.

All one needs to do is read one's Bible and it all makes sense. God restricted the priesthood at one time from everyone in Israel with few exceptions except to those descended from Moses' brother Aaron. That means he left out everyone else in Israel at that time, including Blacks, Whites and other racial groups. If it is a key factor in deciding whether the Church is man-made or God-made, it is only because of their ignorance of the Bible and its contents. It really is that simple. :P

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All one needs to do is read one's Bible and it all makes sense. God restricted the priesthood at one time from everyone in Israel with few exceptions except to those descended from Moses' brother Aaron. That means he left out everyone else in Israel at that time, including Blacks, Whites and other racial groups. If it is a key factor in deciding whether the Church is man-made or God-made, it is only because of their ignorance of the Bible and its contents. It really is that simple. :P

Hi MormonMason,

I am a bit hazy about the priesthood restrictions among the children of Israel. From my reading of the relevant portions, I assumed that those of the tribe of Levi who started in the Lord's service at age thirty obtained the Levitical priesthood. I refer to Joshua 18:7 But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance: ......."

I do recall a rebellion among some of the Levites because of that priesthood ban, but I thought that it was because of the Melchizedek priesthood being taken from among them. I probably need to do a little more research on this.

Glenn

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All one needs to do is read one's Bible and it all makes sense. God restricted the priesthood at one time from everyone in Israel with few exceptions except to those descended from Moses' brother Aaron. That means he left out everyone else in Israel at that time, including Blacks, Whites and other racial groups. If it is a key factor in deciding whether the Church is man-made or God-made, it is only because of their ignorance of the Bible and its contents. It really is that simple. :P

I have to agree with you here. As long as you believe the Bible to be the word of God, there is no reason to doubt that God has withheld certain blessings according to race. There is no reason to accept that God did it in the past, but somehow make it wrong for Him to do it in the present with the LDS.

Although, in my mind, this still contradicts the whole "you will not be punished for Adams transgressions" thing. I don't understand how a loving God can curse millions (if not billions) of individuals because of the actions of one man.

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I have to agree with you here. As long as you believe the Bible to be the word of God, there is no reason to doubt that God has withheld certain blessings according to race. There is no reason to accept that God did it in the past, but somehow make it wrong for Him to do it in the present with the LDS.

Although, in my mind, this still contradicts the whole "you will not be punished for Adams transgressions" thing. I don't understand how a loving God can curse millions (if not billions) of individuals because of the actions of one man.

Mortality is all about learning and overcoming. Could it not be possible that there was something to be learned in this for all of us? Perhaps events in the premortal existence determined what groups of spirits had to learn which lessons about patience and longsuffering? There were many lineages which received differing tests of faith.

At least Blacks could become members of the Church and community of faith! The peoples of Moab and Ammon had it much worse. For most of them, membership in the community of faith was forbidden and not even ten generations could secure that blessing for them. Why that is, is unknown.

All that is known is that their inhospitability toward Israel resulted in this curse laid upon them as a nation and a people. However, as with Blacks, some exceptions to the policy appear to have been made, such as in the case of Ruth, and partial descendents of this Moabitess such as David and Solomon.

But, with work for the dead, not a blessing will be permanently withheld for anyone who the Lord wishes to bless. It is all on his timetable, not ours.

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Mortality is all about learning and overcoming. Could it not be possible that there was something to be learned in this for all of us?

Sure, it's possible. But is it equally as possible that this is of man, not God?

Perhaps events in the premortal existence determined what groups of spirits had to learn which lessons about patience and longsuffering? There were many lineages which received differing tests of faith.

Perhaps. We could put any number of reasons why denying the priesthood was a learning experience. We could just as easily list reasons why giving the blacks the priesthood would be a learning experience for others.

At least Blacks could become members of the Church and community of faith! The peoples of Moab and Ammon had it much worse. For most of them, membership in the community of faith was forbidden and not even ten generations could secure that blessing for them. Why that is, is unknown.

Well, hallelujah for that!

But, with work for the dead, not a blessing will be permanently withheld for anyone who the Lord wishes to bless. It is all on his timetable, not ours.

Hmm...interesting thought. Exactly when does a deceased person get the priesthood? LDS don't do priesthood ordinations for the dead.

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LDS don't do priesthood ordinations for the dead.

Yeah, we do. It is preliminary to sealings.

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Mortality is all about learning and overcoming. Could it not be possible that there was something to be learned in this for all of us? Perhaps events in the premortal existence determined what groups of spirits had to learn which lessons about patience and longsuffering?

Assigning fault based on pre-existence has been repudiated.

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Exactly when does a deceased person get the priesthood? LDS don't do priesthood ordinations for the dead.

Yes, we do. ;) (Can't say more than that, Scottie, but if you're really interested in knowing more, you could always repent and go to the temple ... :P)

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